It's a sweet breadlike cake, shaped into an oval ring and dotted with multi-colored candied fruit and, sometimes, trinkets. A figurine of baby Jesus is typically baked inside the ring and, depending on the culture, whoever finds it will either have to throw a party with tamales and atole or gets to be king or queen of the feast.
At some bakeries, this seasonal pastry is best ordered in advance to guarantee that you'll have one in time for the holiday. Check out the following three bakeries, with locations from Santa Monica to Downey, for a king's ring of your own.
La Mascota Bakery: This East L.A. bakery, open since 1952, is a neighborhood go-to for sweet or savory breads, holiday staples such as pan de muerto, and, on Sundays, menudo. While you're there for your order of rosca de reyes, you may as well pick up a dozen or so of their tamales, just in case you find the figurine in your slice and will have to host that party. 2715 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 263-5513.
La Monarca Bakery: La Monarca's version of the rosca de reyes features multi-colored strips of dried fruit, a liberal scattering of sugar and the occasional pecan. There are four locations from eastside to west, allowing for pick-up at a relatively convenient spot. East L.A.: 5700 E. Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 869-8800. Huntington Park: 6365 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park; (323) 585-5500. Santa Monica: 1300 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 451-1114. South Pasadena: 1001 Mission St., South Pasadena; (626) 403-6860.
Porto's: This high-volume bakery cafe, known for Cuban specialities including guava strudels and papas rellenas, offers dark golden rosca de reyes in two sizes, small and large. At busy hours, parking can be a drag to find and the lines may hold you up for a while. To make your time worthwhile, consider having a pressed medianoche sandwich with roast pork, ham and Swiss cheese for lunch followed by a single-shot cortadito. Burbank: 3614 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; (818) 846-9100. Downey: 8233 Firestone Blvd., Downey; (562) 862-8888. Glendale: 315 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; (818) 956-5996.
See also: 10 Best Bakeries in Los Angeles